The Community Services District board of directors is considering a draft budget “worst-case scenario” that would increase the average monthly residential bill for water, sewer, drainage, security and garbage collection services by 6.6 percent, taking it from $137.14 to $146.24.
The water rate would go up 9.4 percent, sewer would increase 9.6 percent, and special taxes for security and drainage would go up 2 percent and 1.9 percent respectively. Only garbage collection rates would remain the same, after going up 6.5 percent in the 2009-10 budget.
Rate payers will receive notices of the rate increases and the rate hearings in the mail soon. Budget hearings are scheduled for May 19 and June 16. The CSD’s fiscal year begins July 1.
The increases reflect increased costs for fuel, chemicals, permits, electricity and insurance and reductions in revenue from property taxes and water usage. The security increase covers the hiring of a patrol officer to relieve the security chief of patrol duties.
The board chose the worst-case approach because it allows the proposed increase to be whittled down during the approval process, but the increase cannot be larger than the one that's proposed.
At last week’s meeting, the board decided to include funding for two projects that occur in the same timeframe in the “worst-case scenario.” This approach assumes there will be no developer participation to offset the district’s costs for rehabilitating the water treatment plant when it turns 40 in 2015 and implementing permanent recycled water irrigation at the Van Vleck Ranch when the temporary permit expires in 2014.
Without the debt service component for these two projects, increases for water and sewer would be smaller and the average monthly bill would increase 4.19 percent instead of 6.64 percent to become $142.89 instead of $146.24.
The board said these considerations will be part of the discussion about rates and the 2010-11 budget in the coming weeks.
Water, sewer and drainage: Year in review
Director of Field Operations Paul Siebensohn presented an overview of the community’s water, wastewater and drainage systems and operations.
Water is pumped from the Cosumnes River at Granlees Dam and fed into three reservoirs -- Calero, Chesbro and Clementia -- for the community’s use.
It’s processed for domestic use at the water treatment facility. In 2009, the filter media of one plant at the facility were chemically cleaned and the media of the second plant were replaced. Both plants were retrofitted in 1995 to meet new water treatment requirements.
Water production varies throughout the year. Looking at a graph of water production, Director Bob Kjome commented that it had dropped almost 10 percent between 2006 and 2009. Siebensohn said that could possibly be attributed to weather or “getting the word out regarding conservation” since the past few years have been drought years for the state. “You have to assume that the community is really stepping up and helping out with conservation,” he said.
Siebensohn noted water quality complaints dropped significantly in the past year, going from 53 in 2008 to 19 in 2009. He credited the reduction to the distribution system flushing program and the Rio Oso tank rehabilitation.
The district adopted a state-mandated sewer system management plan last year. The purpose of the plan is to prevent sewage overflows, Siebensohn said. Sewage is collected and pumped to the wastewater treatment plant, where it is treated and stored in two large reservoirs. This secondary treated wastewater is treated and disinfected to become tertiary treated water during the summer months, when it’s supplied to the Country Club for use on the courses.
“If you held up a glass of our reclaimed water next to a glass of potable water, you’d have a hard time telling the difference. ... You’d be able to tell with your nose because it has a lot of chlorine for disinfection purposes,” Siebensohn said.
The dozens of projects the field operations staff completed during the year included replacement of 160 feet of pipe at Clementia, removal of aquatic plants at Chesbro, rebuilding pumps and motors at Granlees Dam, installing new meters and alarms, and removing sludge at the wastewater treatment plant.
Demonstration garden on hold for funding
The board put off voting to proceed with a plan for a water efficiency demonstration garden until the CSD learns whether it’s successful in getting a grant for the project.
A conceptual design was developed after a resident suggested the garden at a CSD meeting last year.
The one-acre landscape design includes a variety of water-efficient gardens and plantings designed to make the area around the CSD Building more attractive when viewed from Jackson Road and to provide the community with examples of water-efficient landscaping. The conceptual drawings are available on Pages 41-43 of the board packet for the March 17 meeting.
The construction cost is estimated at $5 per square foot for a cost of $287,000 for the first phase, General Manager Ed Crouse told the board. A total cost of $420,000 is estimated for the whole project.
The CSD submitted an application this month to the Bureau of Reclamation for a grant to construct the garden. If the CSD is successful in getting the grant, it would be required to match the maximum grant of $100,000 by providing the remaining $187,000, which could be through in-lieu contributions from volunteer groups, contractors, and other sources instead of cash, Crouse said. The grant could be declined if the matching funds are lacking, he said.
Director Betty Ferraro, who has worked with community volunteers on the project, said, “The intent when we started this was that we were not looking for district money. We were looking for participation from the community as a whole.”
Director Bob Kjome said he was glad to see support for the garden plan from community groups, but he didn’t think it was time for the board to appropriate funds for the project.
President Bobbi Belton said she agreed with Kjome, and asked when the district would know whether it had the grant.
Linda Hefflefinger, the CSD’s grant writer, said grant recipients are expected to be notified no later than Aug. 1, and added that the CSD can also seek other funding sources.
“The grant’s dependent upon what we are committing,” argued Director Dick Taylor. “I don’t want to see district cash or staff costs spent on this project.”
Director Steve Mobley said he’d hate to see district funds absorbed on a landscaping project, although he liked the concept of the garden.
“It hasn’t cost the district a nickel to get to where we are right now,” Crouse said. “So we can take a wait-and-see approach until some time later this summer.”
- CSD legal counsel Steve Rudolph reported the board voted 3-2 in closed session to extend General Manager Ed Crouse’s contract to June 2014. Directors Steve Mobley, Dick Taylor and Bob Kjome voted for the extension and Directors Bobbi Belton and Betty Ferraro voted against it, Rudolph reported. Belton said after the board meeting, “I have zero problem with an extension. It was the length of the extension.” The contract was due to expire in June 2011.
- The board approved a resolution calling for a district election in conjunction with the statewide election Nov. 2. The seats on the board held by Directors Belton, Kjome and Taylor will be up for election.
- The board approved funding requested for the purchase of chemicals that are used in water operations, the repair of the main lift south sewage pump, and replacement of a water treatment plant filter pump.